Two Engineers Walk into a Bar in Inuvik - 2014 NC to Alaska

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Am.E, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. Am.E

    Am.E Been here awhile

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    It’s our turn for an Alaska ride report. We’ve somehow managed to cobble together over 2 months of free time to ride around this summer, and don’t have to go back to work until mid-September.

    Riding to Alaska is on the bucket list of many an adventure motorcyclist (I use that term loosely), and it’s a ride we’ve dreamed of doing for a while now. So, Carpe Diem. Life is short. If not now, when? After months of uncertainty about our work schedule, I think we’re going to be able to leave in just a few days. It still hasn’t sunk in. I mean, this is what we’ve been trying to do, but the reality hasn’t hit that we might actually get to do it. (I’m starting this a bit late here in ADV, we actually left on 6/28).

    About us:
    In short, we are two engineers living in NC with a bit of motorcycle problem. We’re not new to multi-week moto travel (check out ye old blog if you’re interested), but Alaska is new for both of us. This is a dream vacation. We’re, or at least I’m, not in this to be some sort of hard-core adventurer. Hopefully, at the end of this trip, we’ll have ridden to some amazing places, met interesting people, enjoyed delicious food, and found just the right amount of adventure along the way, returning 15000 mi later with cool stories and nothing worse than worn out bikes.

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    About the motos:
    My better half is riding his 2010 Ducati Multistrada. Unlike your stereotypical Ducati owner, his bike is almost never washed, and there is a box in the garage full of parts that have been deemed useless and too heavy, and thus removed from the bike.

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    My bike is a 2013 Husqvarna TR650 Strada. The year is pointless to state, because it was only made in 2013, and then BMW sold Husky to KTM. I love the idea of this bike. It’s a nearly perfect “adventure” bike (mostly road going, which is how I like it) for a vertically challenged person like me (in its lowered condition). I like it far better than the BMWG650GS is shares a motor with (my bike gets 10 more hp, lighter weight, and better suspension, thanks). So, it gets an A for concept, but a C for execution. It has a few problems. I hope most are addressed, and I’m not too worried about long term reliability. There’s a giant thread here on ADV for this bike (well, it’s more popular Terra variant). In short, while I generally like BMW bikes, this picture that I stole from that thread sums up what happened to the TR650:

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    Trip prep has been a project the last few months. Lots of research about what to see, and estimating time and distances. We’re getting pretty experienced at this moto touring thing, but we’re also always looking for improvements. I chickened out long ago on taking the Monster to Alaska, but the TR650 needed some mods to be touring ready. Setting up my bike is a project that could use its own post, which maybe I’ll get around to. Suffice it to say, there have been plenty of moto related shenanigans.

    This schedule for this trip reflects what we’ve learned from previous trips, which is that we don’t like having a schedule. I’ve made no reservations, and we don’t have to be any place at any time. There are a zillion things on the list we’d like to see, and we’ll decide among them as we feel like it. Generally, we’ll bias against spending time getting to and from Alaska, and bias more towards exploring in Alaska. That said, its 4500 mi from NC to Fairbanks, so it will likely take some time just to get there.

    I post in ride reports for the first time with some trepidation. I’m not much of a writer or photographer, and what are ride reports if not story-telling and/or pictures? Plus, there are approximately elevnty-billion Alaska ride reports on this site already, ours will only be unique and different to us. However, I really like reading the other ride reports, so maybe someone will enjoy ours. Plus, we discovered we like having a record of our adventures, which I already keep the personal blog, so it’s not that much of a step to start cross posting here as well.

    Despite the late start, I intend to post here semi-live, as I go along. I say semi-live, because documenting the report always takes a back seat to actually living the adventure. Thus, the report is usually a bit behind wherever we are. I post when I feel like it dammit. You get what you pay for.
    #1
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  2. Am.E

    Am.E Been here awhile

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    Cross Posted from http://amytracker.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/moto-ak-on-the-road-north-to-the-up/


    6/28/2014 – 435 miles – NC to OH
    And we’re off on another moto-adventure! The biggest one yet. Somehow we pulled this off, and we’re actually on the road, riding to Alaska.
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    All day Friday was spent with final preparations and packing the bikes, and we made a decent start by getting on the road at 9:30 Saturday morning. In our excitement to get to Alaska, we’re willing to bypass excellent riding closer to home to save time and make some distance.

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    The first day if our adventure is a boring ride north up I-77 through WV in an effort to put on some distance. We’re headed to Alaska by way of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (it’s totally on the way). The UP seems like an interesting spot on the map we’ve never been to and know nothing about, and this trip is as good a time as any to check it out.
    We reached Columbus OH near the end of the day, and in the rain. Dealt with the usual difficulty of urban navigating and traffic, plus we couldn’t see the lanes due to combination of construction (which was moving lanes) and the rain obscuring the pavement markings (couldn’t tell the difference between old and new lane markings). Was less stressful than expected, and we were through quickly. Lack of good camping opportunities and rain meant we rode until we were tired around 8pm, and then grabbed a hotel.
    6/29/2014 – 474 miles – OH, MI, Upper Peninsula
    The next day we were on the road at 8:30 from the hotel to continue our mad dash to the UP. Weather started as sunny with scattered showers, but we mostly stayed dry. The weather front pushed east through our lunch break, and we continued our blast up through the center of Michigan behind the front in gorgeous sunny weather.

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    Its getting a bit windy. Roads are flat and straight through the farm country, and we battle buffeting from the wind. We see several wind farms, all appearing to be active and making lots of power. Connected back up with I-75 headed for the Mackinac Bridge crossing to the Upper Peninsula. Stopped for gas before crossing the bridge, ended up talking with a Klim rep on vacation with his wife. (Klim makes the brand of moto suits we are wearing. She noticed our gear and came over to talk to us). He reps in WV, and knows the dealer and specific sales rep I bought my TR650 from. Yet another small world moment, these seem to happen all the time. We talked bikes and gear for awhile. He’s the second guy we’ve talked to at a gas station today that has a motorcycle his wife doesn’t know about.
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    Crossed the Mackinac bridge to Michigan’s upper peninsula late in the afternoon. $8 toll, $4 per moto.
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    Why are there so many axles/wheels? We saw quite a few of these in the UP, what are they carrying? Why so many tires?
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    The UP is like a seaside town. It’s a bit touristy, but fun. It might exist entirely for recreation, I’m not sure. There are lots of RVs. We headed west on Route 2, and kept seeing signs for fudge, smoked fish, and pasties. Decided that’s what was for dinner, even though we don’t what pasties are. Plus, the Klim guy says he likes to go to the UP to eat the smoked fish, so we figured we should try it. The homemade pasty was delicious, like a pastry crust with various fillings. The one we had was similar to shepherds pie, with beef, pork, vegetable, and potato filling. The smoked white fish appearance was doubtful, but it was delicious. Even Kevin enjoyed more than he thought he would (he, for some reason I’ll never understand, doesn’t really like seafood). Bought dinner from one of the many little roadside buildings, chose one near the campground. This one was an old looking little country general store, that sells food and liquor, among other general items. We also learned that people from the UP are “yoopers,” and people in mainland Michigan are trolls (they live under the bridge). You can rent cabins there too, which might have been smarter. The mosquitos were horrendous. We chose a campsite right on the shore of Lake Michigan. The view was incredible, but camping next to fresh water is probably stupid, although I doubt it’s possible to not camp near water up here. When the wind picks up, it keeps the mosquitos down, but it doesn’t stay up all the time. DEET works like a charm, but you have to cover every square inch. You can’t leave untreated skin exposed for long. (Wait, why do we camp again?) We shut ourselves in the tent ASAP. The waves from the lake drown out most other sounds, other than the seagulls.
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  3. White6Romeo

    White6Romeo Sectum Sempre

    Joined:
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    Having spent a few years living and riding around Alaska before moving back to NY, I never get tired of the AK ride reports. Bring it on!

    As for your trepidation about the ride report; if 70 year old grandpas who are still using Windows 3.4 can manage a report, so can you! Your first post is on point.

    Cant wait to hear about the Husky and the MS. Safe travels!!
    #3
  4. Am.E

    Am.E Been here awhile

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    Cross posted from http://amytracker.wordpress.com/2014...thern-midwest/


    Moto AK – The UP and northern midwest


    6/30/2014 – 321 mi – The UP
    Up with the sun this morning, and an amazing view of Lake Michigan. Packed camp and riding before 8am. SO MANY MOSQUITOS. A bit cool, needed a layer when riding. Stopped at the Seul Choix (pronounced Sis Shwa) light house, which has been restored by local historical society. It wasn’t open at 8:30 am on a Monday, so we couldn’t go up to the top.

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    Down the road, we went to a state park with historic iron smelting town preserved/restored as an outdoor museum. The history was interesting, but we were charged $5 per bike, and we didn’t stay that long. We did learn how important iron has historically been to the UP. After that, we noticed all the town names with iron in them along route 2: Iron Mountain, Iron River, etc.




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    Our conclusion now that we’ve ridden through it is that indeed, Michigan really is very flat, and windy.



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    Lunch and quick supplies stop at Walmart in Escanaba. Kevin had work related phone call at 2pm, which he made from a park in town. Once on the road again, decided to take a road parallel to 2 for something different. Had 15 mi of unpaved road to change things up a bit. Rejoined route 2, and continued west until it was time to camp. Landed at Bobcat lake campground in the national forest. Once again, the spot is really pretty, under the forest canopy with a view of the small lake, but the Mosquitos are insanely bad. So bad I didn’t even take any pictures. We could have left, but we were tired, and its not like there was a hotel close by. Kevin and I had a discussion (code for I complained about camping with mosquitos) about strategies to be employed in the future to try and not camp next to bodies of water, admittedly difficult in this part of the country.


    7/1/2014 – 354 mi – Yoopie Twopie, WI, MN
    Woke up to rain. Packed up in the wet, but rain stopped for most of it. No breakfast in camp - too wet, too cold, way too many mosquitos. On the road by 7:30, stopped at first roadside diner for breakfast. The place was straight out of the 70s, or maybe earlier, with wood-paneled décor and diner furniture that maybe really was from the 70s. Breakfast was good and cheap. The 70s atmosphere was enhanced when a couple pulled up in an old VW bus, mustard yellow. Guy had a 70s ‘stache and everything. If it weren’t for 1 or 2 recent model cars outside, we could have been transported back in time.



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    The sun came out some time after we crossed into Wisconsin. We both thought northern Wisconsin was very pretty. The rest stop below is on Lake Superior.


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    Stopped in Duluth MN at Aerostich. Picked up some glove rain covers I forgot to order in time before we left, and Kevin really needed a new wallet. Kinda neat to visit Aerostich in person after years of getting the catalog and ordering stuff online. Headed generally west on 2, which goes to Minot, where we’ll pay a visit to my cousin stationed there. Rather than just take 2 the whole way, Kevin snapped a photo of a map in Aerostich that highlighted the curvy and scenic roads in MN. The diversion was a total waste. The northern MN version of a curvy road is not even an average road in central NC. It drizzled rain the whole afternoon, becoming more steady as we headed west. The temps dropped to below 60, turning the travel conditions to cold, wet, and on boring straight roads. Oh well, it can’t all be good. Somehow, we were still in good spirits. We called it quits at a hotel in Bemidji, which we’ll have to look up how to pronounce. Its too cold and wet to camp, and two nights in a row of intense mosquitos is enough for now. In sum, its not like we’re surprised, but the northern mid-west has some intensely boring roads.


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    #4
  5. Am.E

    Am.E Been here awhile

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    thanks! I appreciate the words of encouragement. We're having an amazing trip. We're actually in fairbanks right now. Its cold and raining and we needed services (laundry, shower, internet, etc.,), so we packed up camp and are hiding out inside. Seems like a good time to update the ride report.
    #5
  6. White6Romeo

    White6Romeo Sectum Sempre

    Joined:
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    As you may know from other RR, you can maybe get a cabin at the university over on College Road.

    I suggest while your in town to check out College Coffee House. They've got some decent homemade snacks, great coffee, crisp WIFI and they're open till midnight.

    Theres a old timer named George who spends a lot of time there. If you see a vintage BMW side hack with a dog in it, thats his. The guy is a legend as far as motorcycling in AK goes.

    This time of year is typically rainy up there. Ive heard this year has been even worse:(
    #6
  7. longrides1

    longrides1 Been here awhile

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    Gotta love those DUCS!:evil

    Just can't see taking mine that way, most likely be a KLR.:lol3

    Can't wait to read more RR.:wink:
    #7
  8. NCJ

    NCJ Long timer

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    Subscribed. :D :lurk
    #8
  9. Am.E

    Am.E Been here awhile

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    Cross posted from http://amytracker.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/moto-ak-the-plains/

    Moto AK – The Plains

    7/2/2014 – 335 mi – MN to ND
    We stayed in the hotel a bit in the morning to use the wi-fi to take care of a bit of business, and were on the road 9:30 in sunny weather. Here we go across the plains; flat, straight, fast, and windy. I might, just might, see the appeal of a cruiser out here. Found a nice spot for a picnic lunch just off the highway at the park below.



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    My mosquito murdering program is going to plan.


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    Crossed into North Dakota on route 2, which we’ve more or less been on since entering the UP in Michigan. At a rest stop just east of Rugby, ND, we met a guy named Andrew having a break at one of the picnic tables. Andrew was on final stretch of a walking around the world journey. He’d been walking for over two years, and was about three weeks from home. The poor boy just wanted to eat his lunch, and we bombarded him with questions and listened to his stories for over an hour. He had a push kart to hold his stuff fabricated out of rebar in Kazakhstan, with those plastic covered foam roller wheels, that were worn down to just the foam, and losing diameter daily. Even though Kazakhstan was flatter, straighter, and bigger, windier, and more boring than walking across north Dakota (A German tourist who learned of his plan to walk it said it would be “a meditation”), he still liked it best for its people. He didn’t have to spend any money, because people would just take him in every night and feed him. He doesn’t blog, but his friends maintain a facebook page for him. This guy is definitely a wanderer and traveler; he has also bicycled through South America to Ushuaia, and canoed down the Mississippi. I think he’s about our age, maybe younger. He’s planning to write a book. I’ll buy it, he’s definitely made interesting life choices. We really enjoyed talking with him, and it was a very cool chance encounter.


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    Met up with my cousin Ryan at a Mexican restaurant in Minot ND for dinner. Ryan joined the air force to see the world, and has been stuck in Minot for 4 years. Minot is a bit out of the way to get visitors, so I was fun to stop in. It sounds like he may get to re-locate somewhere else soon. After dinner, we headed to the first campsite just out of town. It was a commercial campsite mostly for RVers, but there was an area for tents, and $15 got a site with a picnic table, and access to the nice bathrooms, and wif-fi, so not too bad. An older gentleman came over to ask about our trip, said it was something he’d really like to do, and that he has a classic BMW motorcycle. He’s touring around in his truck hauling a giant box trailer that’s carrying his ultralight airplane. The wings fold back, and it barely fits in the trailer. He’s traveling with his wife and brother, and their two poodles. They look like they are having a good time. Another guy stopped by our campsite who used to work on the Alaska pipeline. He told us we would love Alaska, a few places we needed to go, and how when he decided to visit Alaska, he didn’t leave for a few decades. His son lives there now, and is visiting ND to see the “oil patch”. He warned of the population and crime explosion in Williston, where we were considering going tomorrow. Even in Minot, signs of the oil boom are everywhere. Some of the campers at this park are clearly not here for recreation, with commercial vehicles labeled with all manner of oil related services. It’s still a bit light out even at 10:30 at night.


    7/3/2014 – 352 mi – ND to Saskatchewan, Canada
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    North Dakota = Flooding, nukes, missile silos, and the oil boom on the prairie. We spent morning trying to ship the handgun to AK, since we aren’t allowed to carry it through Canada. No luck. Turns out the franchise UPS stores won’t ship handguns, only the actual UPS shipping centers will, which are open 1 hour per day, from 5-6pm. Since we didn’t want to hang out in Minot all day, we decided to go ahead and visit Teddy Roosevelt National Park after-all. Headed west so we could at least get a few miles on today, and decided to try and ship out of Williston instead. Route 23 is like a microcosm of all of ND. There were many small shallow lakes visible from the road, which apparently hadn’t been there before the major flood event four years ago. The farmland is dotted with them, and you can see power poles, fences, and where there used to be roads in what is now a lake. The power lines are still active, I just have no idea how the utility maintains them anymore. There were also several missile silos visible from the road, and we saw at least one military Humvee on patrol from the air force base. We knew about the oil boom in ND that has grown over the last two years, but we didn’t know exactly where it was. As it happens, it’s located everywhere within about a 100 mile radius of Williston. Had we known what we were getting into, we would have avoided it at all costs. It’s insane. The heavy trucks and equipment are everywhere, and the population growth really is incredible. We passed site after site of fracking and oil drilling. It’s dusty, noisy, and busy, and supposedly getting a bit dangerous, especially if you are female. It was a relief to finally reach the National Park, and enjoy a picnic lunch in peace with views of the incredible landscape. The dramatic badlands topography just seems to appear out of nowhere, and is quite a contrast to the flat, droning miles leading up to it.


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    After riding through the northern part of the park, we made it to Williston by 4:30 after endless miles of construction. After some effort, we managed to get the handgun shipped to Alaska. Maybe we’ll see it again when we get there. By that point in the day, we just wanted to get as far away from North Dakota as possible, and headed straight for the border. Despite dealing with congestion, riding through oil boom country was memorable enough to make us glad we saw it.
    Below is US85 in ND. Naturally, it was under construction, and was entirely unpaved for about 20 miles.


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    Crossing into Canada was no problem. We landed at a campground in town in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Our route today looks like an etch-a-sketch drawing, full of straight lines. About 2200 mi so far this trip.


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    7/4/2014 – 442 mi – Saskatchewan to Alberta
    Unsurprisingly, southern SK is pretty much like ND, but maybe more sparse. We crossed into Alberta on the Trans-Canada highway, route 1. Even with nearly 200 mi range on the fuel tanks, we still have to pay some attention to fuel stops here, and get it when it’s available.
    Rest stop below in town. We’re in Canada now, so of course we have to go to Tim Horton’s, or “Timmy’s.”


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    The land just barely starts to be occasionally hilly when crossing into AB, but the road is still boring. At least the weather is nice.


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    #9
  10. Am.E

    Am.E Been here awhile

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    I'm not sure why I can't edit my posts? The edit box is coming up blank, with no content to edit.

    The preview does the same thing; I can see the post preview, but the editing box is empty, so I can't make any changes unless I page back. This has not happened to me before on ADV, but I'm using the laptop rather than my desktop pc i usually use at home. Both windows 7 running the latest firefox, scripting allowed. I dunno.

    For some reason, some pics from the last post didn't copy over, so I'll put them here.


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    #10
  11. Am.E

    Am.E Been here awhile

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    Cross posted from http://amytracker.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/moto-ak-canadian-rockies-and-cassiar-hwy/

    Moto AK – Canadian Rockies and Cassiar Hwy

    7/5/2014 – 326 mi – Alberta, CN
    Its about 150 mi from our campsite to Banff and the Canadian Rockies, and the end of the plains (finally). We rode through Calgary in the morning, past Olympic park, and could see the mountains in the distance. Calgary Stampede is happening right now, and it would be opportune to stop and check it out. We decide against it. Kevin doesn’t want to go at all. I would like to at some point, but it’s a bit of a hassle on the bikes, and not having reservations to stay somewhere. Once west of Calgary, the land changes quickly from prairie to mountains, without much in the way of foothills. Stopped for a quick lunch in Banff, which was all we needed to know that Banff wasn’t for us. It’s just like Tahoe, an overpriced, overcrowded tourist trap. I don’t get it. Despite the plethora of amazing food, we ate lunch at subway because we didn’t feel like paying $15 for a burger.



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    We paid the fee to enter the national park and head north on the scenic route 93 through Banff and Jasper national parks. The wildlife spotting started right away. In Banff, we saw our first Grizzly bear. It was far enough off the road to create a comfortable distance. Watching with the naked eye was ok, but the binoculars were excellent for watching the lone bear amble along through the brush. We later saw a mama bear and cubs, but they were too close to the curvy and steep road to stop on the bikes and take pictures. We also rode right by a big white mountain-goat eating on the side of the road. The views here are amazing; mountains, rivers, lakes, and glaciers. The glacial melt rivers are this amazing opaque blue-ish color, due to the “rock flour” dissolved in the water. The water almost looks like the treated water at a water park to me. We occasionally pass a non-glacial melt river, with familiar looking river water.


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    (The Grizzly is in the bottom center in the above pic, way out of reach of the lens. The bear was much easier to see with the naked eye, or even better with binoculars. Other tourists with their fancy (and very large, no room for that on the motos) zoom lenses were no doubt getting great shots.)


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    Chose a campsite in the park about 25 mi south of Jasper. While setting up, a black bear strolled right through the campground, foraging. It didn’t seem to notice us or the other 2 campers, and stayed away from our group of campsites. We watched and waited, but continued to set up camp. The bear was not in the least bit aggressive, but eventually decided to meander toward the campsite next to us, where our neighboring campers were set up. At this point, it was maybe 50 feet from us, which was too close. As they say, fed bears are dead bears, so we weren’t about to let it find food near us. Kevin hollered and clapped at it, and it ran away like a scared dog. It stopped and looked back at one point with a hurt expression on its face as if to say “what is your problem?”, and Kevin yelled at it again to let it know he was serious. We’re pretty sure the bear didn’t go too far (other people spotted it later near the entrance to the campground), but we never saw it again. Since this is our first real bear encounter, we’ve chosen to think of Kevin chasing the bear away as some sort of manly right of passage, and he the macho protector of the campground, ignoring the fact that many a black bear has been chased away by mere children with sticks. Even still, I wish Canada didn’t insist on disarming us, reducing our defense capability to a can of bear spray.


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    7/6/2014 – 480 mi – British Columbia, CN
    Continued the trek north in the morning, out of the park, and a bit west into British Columbia. The Wendy’s in Prince George has the best public wi-fi we’ve ever used, so we stayed there for an hour and a half. (Yes, we’re on vacation, but when you own your own company, we still have to work a bit here and there. An hour or two a week on average is just fine thanks. Plus, I posted to the blog). At a rest stop along a lake (‘tis the land of 1000 lakes, there’s rarely a stretch of road without a view of one), several folks approached us to ask about our trip. We’re far enough away now that we’re getting people approaching us just because we’re on motos and so far away from home. The man, his wife, and their adult son were local ranchers, and were at the park enjoying a Sunday afternoon with the extended family. We might have been the only non-family there. We enjoyed talking with them about farming in BC, and about bikes in general. The guy used to be into old BMW motorcycles, but doesn’t ride much any longer. We rode way too long today, and didn’t stop until 9 pm at a provincial park on Tyhee? Lake off rt 16. 9 pm isn’t that late, but after riding all day I’m exhausted, and fall asleep as soon as camp is set up and we finish dinner. Its so light out, it feels like maybe 6 pm, or earlier.



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    7/7/2014 – 389 mi – Cassiar Highway BC, CN
    Today we start the famous Cassiar Highway, the long, lonely, and somewhat scenic route through northern BC. The views are sometimes pretty nice, but the road is straight and long, and the mosquitos are intense if you stop. I tried to use the helmet camera to get a few pictures in the northern, more scenic section, but the mosquitos clog the lens too quickly. We leap-frog with another traveler going north, a pick-up with a trailer. We both start waving and honking as we’d pass each other taking a rest stop at a pull off on the side of the road, or while passing. At least we’re finally seeing other adventure bikes, all loaded up and covered in dirt, looking like they found adventure in remote places. There are several bridge crossings with the metal decks, which can be a little slippery for motorcycles, although its dry and these don’t seem to be a problem.



    Kevin says the warning sign looks like its signaling a unicycle disco party.


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    (Didn’t really get a pic of the sign, stole the above from somewhere on the internet).


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    We pass signs labeled with the Canadian Ministry of Forests, which we shorten to the more entertaining and appropriately Orwellian Mini-Tree. Camping tonight at Waters Edge Campground in Dease Lake BC. It’s not bad, but I don’t really recommend this place. It’s $20 for a rocky spot that does have satellite internet when the generator is running, but no potable water. Should have listened to Kevin and bush camped a few miles earlier.


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    #11
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  12. xcountry41

    xcountry41 Been here awhile

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    There's a Heaven in Alberta - Big Sugar
    Hey folks,
    Great report so far! I think your RR title caught my attention for a couple obscure reasons. I did the trip solo from Edmonton last June and kicking my butt for not riding the Dempster to Inuvik. Also that you are both engineers and my son has just earned his mechanical engineering degree and in the first couple months of his new career,I'm excited for him. So I'm going out on a limb with my respectful .02 worth here. First I've camped ,mountain biked and trail run in Jasper, Banff and Kananaskis country extensively over the years and have never for a split second felt the need for a firearm. I've read Stephen Hererro's benchmark book about bear attacks and try to practice smart behaviour in bear country. I also fully believe the experts when they say that bear spray is much more effective than a gun in an encounter situation, which truly are very rare. When retiring to my tent for the night I take my hatchet and bear spray and have never even come close to needing them. I'm a little sensitive to some of the resentment that sometimes pops up in these threads about Canada's gun laws, I just don't get "gun culture".
    Awesome you guys can do this together as a couple. My wife doesn't want to ride her own but will ride pillion. Just makes it tough to carry enough gear to camp. Not sure if I just haven't got to that part of your report but the side trip off the Cassiar to Stewart/Hyder,AK on hwy 37A is more than "somewhat scenic" it's truly epic IMHO. There is a gorgeous provincial camp site toward the north end of the Cassiar at Boya lake, nice spot if it works with your logistics. Agree with you somewhat about Banff being a tourist trap and generally prefer Jasper but Banff has some charm if you have time to peel back a couple layers. One last unsolicited point of view about the $15 burger in Banff. It's worth it! Considering you can get subway anywhere and it's all the same. You where at Eddie burger. Gourmet burgers (bison is my favorite) and mostly very attractive transplanted Aussie servers in a interesting booze and burgers setting. I'm subscribed ! Wishing you continued safe travels can't wait to get to the walking into the bar in Inuvik part. Hopefully I haven't pissed anyone off with my opinionated .02 worth from my perspective.
    Best regards, Gary
    #12
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  13. Chazbo

    Chazbo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    209
    Location:
    Issaquah, WA
    #13
  14. Phoenix101

    Phoenix101 Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,853
    Location:
    Right Side of WA
    I'm in...
    #14
  15. CPTBorg

    CPTBorg Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2014
    Oddometer:
    52
    Location:
    South of the river, MN
    Great RR, I was shocked to see someone drive past my grandfathers old farm near plaza ND!
    #15
  16. ScooterNoMore

    ScooterNoMore Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    585
    Location:
    Calgary, AB CANADA
    Great report. Thanks for taking us all along. 'Jealous' is the first thing that comes to my mind!! Hahaha

    I'm in Calgary.....I was at the Canada Olympic Park McDonalds a few times during Stampede having a coffee or Coke. I remember watching 2 loaded bikes heading west....might have been you guys.....all the best......
    #16
  17. Am.E

    Am.E Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    369
    Location:
    NCNC
    Thanks for the interest and comments folks. It's kinda fun to be on the other end of a ride report:)

    We're in Denali now. Might find some wi-fi tomorrow. Have more updates ready. Probably headed to Talkeetna, maybe find a place to stay inside (suggestions welcome). Weather actually looks good for a bit after that for a change.
    #17
  18. CaptnSlo

    CaptnSlo Derelicte

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,847
    Location:
    VA
    Great stuff. Subscribed!
    #18
  19. jwalters

    jwalters Farkle Proliferator

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,577
    Location:
    Little Marais, MN
    Great report! Keep it coming!

    Regarding the many axled Michigan rigs, a Michigan DOT website says it best:

    "Michigan’s truck-weight law is designed to control axle loads instead of gross vehicle weight. Research conducted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and other organizations, has shown that pavement damage is directly related to axle loadings, not gross vehicle weight. Michigan limits the weight allowed on individual axles, depending upon the spacing between them, with a maximum of eleven axles.

    The maximum gross vehicle weight allowed on a “federal-weight-law truck” is 80,000 pounds, with four of its five axles carrying 17,000 pounds each and the steering axle carrying 12,000 pounds. The calculated maximum allowable gross vehicle weight on the heaviest “Michigan-weight-law truck” is 164,000 pounds, which can only be achieved by use of eleven properly-spaced axles. Most of these axles carry only 13,000 pounds each. The alternative to a single Michigan combination carrying 160,000 lbs. on 11 axles is two standard trucks carrying 160,000 lbs. on 10 axles. Pavement research has shown that these two smaller trucks actually cause about 60 per cent more pavement damage than does the single heavier truck, because of their higher axle loadings and the extra weight of additional tractors at about ten tons each."

    Michigan’s truck-weight law is designed to control axle loads instead of gross vehicle weight. Research conducted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and other organizations, has shown that pavement damage is directly related to axle loadings, not gross vehicle weight. Michigan limits the weight allowed on individual axles, depending upon the spacing between them, with a maximum of eleven axles.
    The maximum gross vehicle weight allowed on a “federal-weight-law truck” is 80,000 pounds, with four of its five axles carrying 17,000 pounds each and the steering axle carrying 12,000 pounds. The calculated maximum allowable gross vehicle weight on the heaviest “Michigan-weight-law truck” is 164,000 pounds, which can only be achieved by use of eleven properly-spaced axles. Most of these axles carry only 13,000 pounds each. The alternative to a single Michigan combination carrying 160,000 lbs. on 11 axles is two standard trucks carrying 160,000 lbs. on 10 axles. Pavement research has shown that these two smaller trucks actually cause about 60 per cent more pavement damage than does the single heavier truck, because of their higher axle loadings and the extra weight of additional tractors at about ten tons each.
    - See more at: http://justfixtheroads.com/michigans-unique-truck-weight-law/#sthash.sFFte43e.dpuf
    #19
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  20. Am.E

    Am.E Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    369
    Location:
    NCNC
    Hi Chazbo :wave I recognize you from the TR650 new owners stupid questions thread. I actually read some of your report :clap I'm the one that started the hullabaloo with the 3d printed parts for the air filter issue.
    #20